Focus on Protection - Making Sports Safety a Priority

By Tom Goeltz
In the fall of 2007, New Jersey Devils’ defenseman Colin White received a devastating eye injury as a self-deflected puck struck him in the eye, blurring his vision and putting an abrupt stop to his season. Similar stories occur every year, whether on the basketball court, baseball field or in countless other sports arenas; however, many of these injuries could have been prevented with proper eye protection.

Every thirteen minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. Ninety percent of these injuries can be avoided with protective eyewear. What’s more, research from The Vision Council finds that only one-third of all children protect their eyes when playing sports, despite nearly nine in 10 adults believing it’s important to do so. For the millions of Americans who play sports, it is critical that they are made aware of the risks of eye injuries and the options for protecting their eyes. This offers those in the optical industry the unique chance to increase second pair sales while educating patients about the importance of sports eyewear.

As children head back to school and pick up with organized sports, the need for safety eyewear will increase. Laboratories can take this opportunity to meet with their eye care professional partners and share with them tips on how to promote sports eye protection.

Promoting Sports Eye Protection

To promote safety eyewear for sports, there are several simple steps eye care professionals can follow:

• Inquire. The first step to promoting sports eyewear is simply asking patients, “Do you play sports?” By asking them this question, eye care professionals can open the conversation and begin talking about sports eye protection.

• Inform. If the patient does play sports, eye care professionals should describe the risk of sports-related eye injuries and deliver strong recommendations about the use of sports eyewear.

• Introduce. Once the eye care professional has discussed the importance of sports eye protection, they should present the patient with options in protective eyewear.

By advising eye care professionals to speak with their patients about protecting their eyes while playing sports, we can do our part to prevent eye injuries and increase protective eyewear sales.

The Vision Council has created a sports eye protection toolkit to help eye care professionals incorporate vision protection into their practices. For more information about sports-related eye injuries or for a copy of the toolkit, please contact Tom Goeltz, The Vision Council’s Vision Protection Committee consultant at tjgoeltz@comcast.net.

The Vision Council’s Vision Protection Committee is dedicated to expanding the protective eyewear market on behalf of all segments of the industry, from sports and industrial safety eyewear to computer vision lenses to home eye and sun protection.

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Labtalk-November/December 2017